Giudecca, only a short gondola ride from San Marco, was Venice’s “garden of delights” in the 18th century.
Alongside noble residences (such as Palazzo Vendramin, Palazzo Dandolo and Palazzo Barbaro Nani), stood the Academy of Philosophy and convents such as le Zitelle and le Convertite. But the island was known for its parks, orchards and vineyards where city dwellers, normally confined to narrow alleys and small courtyards, could enjoy fresh air and open spaces. Their favoured drink was “vin salso”, wine with a distinctive salty after-taste, due to the proximity of the lagoon.
Today the Giudecca is much changed, but some of the verdant estates, favoured by Venetian noble families as summer retreats, remain.
Outstanding buildings include Palladio's Church of Redentore, built in the 16th century in thanksgiving for the end of the plague and scene of the annual Redentore festival; and the Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione on the Zitelle.